By: Kendre Verbeck, APSU Senior Communication Student
The power of social media, it’s something that’s always talked about. It can be used for good or for bad, which is pretty scary to think about. A viral post or a powerful message spread by an online account can really impact it’s followers. Likewise those followers, or Social Media Community as they are sometimes referred to, can be just as impactful and powerful. Knowing and respecting the power an online community can produce in an important thing when you’re planning to enter the communication world, especially as a social media specialist. I’ve decided to make this lesson in social media power a little more enjoyable by listing 5 times a social media community proved to be a powerful force.
1.Beyonce’s Lemonade Fans
Beyonce released Lemonade on HBO, and it revealed a pretty clear message of her husband’s infidelity in their seemingly perfect marriage. Just the surprise release of new music itself was enough to cause a huge commotion with her online fans, but it blew up into something more when they became aware of a simple post to Instagram made by Rachel Roy which (I’ll leave this up to your judgement) either purposely or not places herself into the light as the women behind the cheating Beyonce is talking about. Beyonce’s fans took it upon themselves to try and defend their “queen”. They even accidentally attacked and bullied celebrity chef Rachel Ray, just because her name was easily confused with Roy’s. The quick reaction, the overwhelming bulling and attacking, and the careless regards in lack of fact checking before taking action shows just how easily it is to start a huge negative impact on social media.
- SeaWorld’s hashtag trolls
If you’ve read my past blogs, you’ll be pretty familiar with this topic: SeaWorld’s terrible use of their Public Relations department, and their sad attempt in promoting a fan base via social media when they already had so many against them. One of the biggest and most impressive moves against SeaWorld from their “anti-fans” came when they came together to “troll” on what was expected to be a big and positive move for SeaWorld’s failing social media accounts. The most impressive thing, and eye opening for anyone unaware of SeaWorld’s campaign, was the activists responses to their #AskSeaWorld tweets on Twitter. The online community took the advice from SeaWorld and really did ask them what they they were wanting to know; however, they asked every single question that SeaWorld really did not want to answer. This, once again, put SeaWorld in an uncomfortable position while uniting an online community against them.
- Drake vs. Meek Mill
This one I found to be a great example of turning the work of an online community into something that benefits you. Whether you like Drake or not, you have to give him some credit for thinking to take all of the online attention his “beef” with Meek Mill created, and use it during shows and promotion. What’s better than free publicity? I think using it to benefit you even more makes it better. Drake’s fans took to social media to create “memes’, which are becoming extremely popular. These memes focused on making fun and embracing Meek Mill, whom created the online fight with Drake. Drake used all of these to his advantage after seeing the power behind them and displayed them during a huge performance supporting his online community and proving how powerful they became.
4.ALS Ice Bucket videos
This was one of the first times a cause created a social media community. This really created a community, and did a lot to help reach their goal. Celebrities, athletes, politicians, “regular” people, literally everyone and anyone was able to (and did) participate in making their own video for this cause. It was fun, it raised awareness, and even raised funds. People came together and “nominated” their friends, family, and famous figures to participate in the challenge. The overwhelming numbers of people participating became a force to motivate others to do their part and join in as well.
- Animal Rescue Resources
This one is my favorite. The power and force behind the animal rescue communities on social media helped to bring home my best friend/dog Jack! After losing him during a major car accident, together a huge social media community worked towards a great (in my opinion) cause of bring home my hairy best friend. I’m just one small example of this social media community. This happens everyday, and all the time. Some of the most followed sites on Facebook center on rescuing, finding, rehoming, and saving animals. The massive social media community behind animal rescues is one that comes together quickly and effectively. This just proves that with the power of social media you can post a complicated goal and the influence and diversity of the community can come together to make anything happen.
All it takes is for one person to post an idea or a movement, and within seconds it can spread to millions of people. People are willing to share anything, even without checking for any truth. Social media gives communities huge power and the ability of giving anyone the choice to easily participate in something they care about (even if it’s for a short period of time). The overwhelming power in numbers that social media grants the people can be used for good or bad, or even seemingly pointless causes. It’s important to know and respect social media’s power to the people and their power by the people.